Shaker Style: A Key to Timeless Home Design

published Mar 16, 2017
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(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

You may know the Shakers—a Christian sect founded in England in the 1700s that later settled in colonial America—for their timeless, minimalist cabinets, but it turns out their simple style is full of trend-proof decorating ideas. To help us settle on some design choices that won’t look dated in a few years, we’re following the guiding principles of Shaker style, right down to the brass tacks.

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

Those Cabinets, Though

No discussion of Shaker style would be complete without at least a moment ogling those drop-dead gorgeous cabinets. Their beauty is understated and timeless, and so it’s no surprise that although they’ve been around for centuries, Shaker-style cabinets, such as the deVOL ones above, are having a moment right now. This is one trend you can feel free to jump on, without fear that it will look dated in five years.

Form Follows Function

The peg rack is a mainstay of Shaker style, reflecting a focus on organization and functionality. In the kitchen above, shot by Frida Ramstedt for Trendenser, the rail keeps cutting boards, pot and pans out of the way but always within grasp. In modern times, as more people choose to live in smaller spaces, maximizing storage becomes more important, and design choices are expected to serve a practical function. So go ahead, get that peg rack.

Wonder Wall

Almost every day you’ll find us lauding the merits of on-the-wall storage (especially in small spaces!), so of course we love a decor style that’s been embracing vertical space for hundreds of years. Suspending tools, aprons and even chairs was popular with the Shakers, as demo’d above in the pages of RealLiving.

(Image credit: Sustainable Kitchnes)

Neutral Territory

There’s no doubt that Shaker style’s neutral color palette is at least partially responsible for its staying power. As much as we may bemoan all-white kitchens, the truth is, it’s not going out of style anytime soon. To find colors that won’t fall out of favor, turn to the Shaker’s palette of muted blues and greens, or off-whites and grays, as shown in the room above by Sustainable Kitchens.

(Image credit: Old House Online)

Pure and Simple

One big way that Shaker-style homes and furniture avoid looking dated is by leaving off any decorative details that would attach them to a specific time period. Clean lines, natural materials and minimal embellishments, as shown in the home above from Old House Online, will stand the test of time. When the Shakers sang “Tis’ a gift to be simple,” they really meant it.